by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
Well I hobbled out to the practice field breathless in anticipation of seeing the Giant wearing full pads for the first time. I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t see much in the way of outstanding plays, or poor ones either. The practice was kind of blah. Perhaps the Giants were tuckered out from a big morning session (which I did not attend). Anyway, the team as a whole did not seem sharp. Perhaps this is not a fair analysis because I was mostly at a distance looking through binoculars and out of earshot. The fans were all at one end of practice field and the Giants were doing drills as far away from us as possible.
The tight ends, under the watchful eye of Mike Pope, were hitting the blocking sled more than 100 yards away. I only saw one rotation of the squad, starting with Jeremy Shockey. I thought he did a good job of hitting the sled, lifting it off the ground and pushing it about 5 yards. Using that performance as a standard, the other TEs also performed well, even Rodney Burgess, the runt of the litter.
I tried to watch the one on one lineman drills, but they were even further away and behind a fence and a small shed. I have plans for getting closer to those drills when my ankle is 100 percent.
I just heard that Long Snapper Ryan Kuehl was injured. That would explain why LB Zak DeOssie was doing the long snaps along with C Grey Ruegamer. A word about Zak DeOssie. I remember when former MLB Nick Greisen used to do wind sprints across the field. Well at the beginning of the practice, Zak dashed across Field 1 onto adjacent Field 2. Not only is he a whole lot faster than Greisen ever was, but Zak is just plain fast and has a smooth athletic looking stride.
Right after Zak ran by, DE Justin Tuck and some cohorts strolled onto the field. Justin sported a huge grin (he usually does) and even huger guns. Impressive!
There were one-on-one passing drills: The quarterback throws to one receiver covered by one defender. These should result in completions every time, but some of the completions were impressive. One reception worthy of mention was by WR Marco Thomas despite getting a hip check from CB E.J. Underwood as the ball arrived. But for sustained contact, Underwood was outdone by CB R.W. McQuarters held onto WR Kevin McMahan before, during, and after McMahan’s reception.
DE William Joseph continues to fill in for the missing Michael Strahan and perhaps a little bit of Michael’s enthusiasm has rubbed off on Joseph. In the 11-on-11s, Joseph ran down the field almost stride for stride with Burress, apparently just for the fun of it as Strahan would sometimes do. (If this was part of a zone blitz and Joseph was supposed to be covering Burress on the play, then the coach should be shot.)
Another 11-on-11 play of note was a simple handoff to Jacobs who cut back and left the defensive team in the dust. If Jacobs can perform a cut back at 260 pounds, the results could be scary. Jacobs also caught everything thrown his way both over the middle and at the sidelines. Another player who had an impressive run was RB Reuben Droughns. The more I watch him the more I think that he can contribute. He took a handoff from Eli and looked really quick and elusive, at least for the first ten yards. I’ll settle for ten yards a pop.
On defense in the 11-on-11s, CB Corey Webster got penetration and nearly intercepted what could have been a dump-off pass from Eli Manning. Corey had a good practice with another pass defense on a Jared Lorenzen pass to WR David Tyree, also in the 11-on-11s.
Josh Huston was kicking field goals (with Grey Rugamer snapping). The kicks looked more like punts. They were very high and very short. Those kicks were not acceptable.
My favorite play of the day was an 11-on-11 pass from Eli to WR Plaxico Burress. Plax ran a crossing pattern caught the ball and was running down the right sideline where he found himself escorted by big rookie TE Kevin Boss. In my opinion, that is a play that can do some damage.
The first scuffle broke out. It appears to have been LG Rich Seubert (not a surprise) and DE Mathias Kiwanuka. It lasted two seconds and required no coaching intervention. The coaches probably wished that it happened at the beginning of the practice rather than at the end to get a little life into the practice.
The quarterbacks: Eli Manning had a good outing, but nothing dramatic. Jared Lorenzen had some nice throws but missed on others. Jared maybe is not the full 285 he is listed at in the roster, but I don’t know why they would not change it if he had lost weight. Jared still has a slow release. I wonder whether this will allow DBs to have that extra instant to jump the pass route. Anthony Wright made some good throws, but would have been sacked on others because of defensive pressure. Tim Hasselbeck came in a clear fourth in the QB sweepstakes.
The last drill was a two?-minute drill (I could not see the clock) and Eli was matriculating the ball down the field first with a sideline pass to Jacobs, then an over the middle pass to Jacobs, then a pass to Plaxico Burress, and then nice crossing route completion to WR Sinorice Moss (who had an even better over the middle pass earlier in the practice and continues to show good hands). The buzzer went off in the middle of the next play, so Eli heaved the ball in desperation to the goal line, where SS James Butler was pretty much alone and intercepted it.